So, if THE GIVER had a baby with UNWIND whilst living as a resident in the Capitol of Panem, it would look like MATCHED. (You have to suspend your disbelief on soooo many levels regarding Lowry’s and Shusterman’s novels to imagine this . . .) There’s a lot of buzz about MATCHED being the next great thing to give to your students/library patrons/kids/selves who loved THE HUNGER GAMES. I don’t exactly buy that particular sell. Okay, I did buy the book, so I guess I believed or wanted to believe. But if you are looking for the kind of heroine you loved in Katniss, or the kind of adventure the 74th annual Hunger Games provided, it ain’t gonna be found in MATCHED.
This heroine takes her time to put on her big-girl panties and play hard ball. It feels real, that it would take her this long, because if anyone ever lived in a candy-colored Capitol, it’s Cassia. Her journey isn’t one of fighting to survive. The journey she must take is one that brings her to the place where she realizes something’s rotten in the perfect State which has dictated every aspect of her perfect life. That takes some doing when you are well-fed and loved and basically safe.
That said, it’s a fun read and the world-building is just terrific. And there’s a great set-up for an action-filled second (and third?) book. There’s just not much action or danger in this volume. If that’s what you liked in THE HUNGER GAMES, you’d be better served reading elsewhere.